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Clark closes fracking consent loophole

Words: Huw Morris

The government has closed a loophole in the consent regime for fracking.

Under Section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998, operators seeking to conduct fracking must apply for a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DEBIS).

The consent was introduced in the Infrastructure Act 2015 as an additional step to the regulatory and permitting regime but did not apply to wells drilled before the 2015 Act came to force.

Business secretary Greg Clark has now closed the loophole, laying a Direction before Parliament ensuring the Oil and Gas Authority consults DEBIS on onshore hydraulic fracturing operations, including where the associated well was drilled before the 2015 Act coming into force.